After a difficult first half of 2013, thin client shipments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) returned to double-digit growth in Q3 2013 and increased by 11,4% year-on-year to 462 479 units, according to the EMEA Quarterly Enterprise Client Device Tracker published by International Data Corporation (IDC).

Weak thin client shipments in the first half of 2013 raised fears that the market could slip into prolonged recession and follow the declining trend of the commercial desktop market.

The latest shipment results for Q3 2013 suggest that the market is still active and there is good growth potential in both developed and emerging countries. IDC expects the EMEA thin client market to grow moderately, by 1,9% year-on-year in 2014 and to post a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6,6% over the five-year forecast period ending in 2017.

HP and Dell strengthened their dominance in Q3 2013 and accounted for a combined share of about 55% of all thin client shipments in EMEA. Igel held third place in the vendor ranking, with 10.6% volume share.

NComputing picked up steam with an impressive 36,7% year-on-year volume growth and 6,8% growth in share in Q3 2013. This performance allowed NComputing to finish the quarter in fourth place and to continue its expansion in EMEA.

The structure of thin client products has been changing during 2013. New, more expensive products entered the market, including all-in-one (AIO) thin clients, and end users looked for better performance characteristics. As a result, market value has been growing much faster than volume. Overall, IDC expects the value of the thin client market to increase 13,1% year on year in 2013.

“The end of support for Windows XP remains one of the main drivers on the EMEA thin client market. Desktop PCs running Windows XP are often replaced with thin client hardware on Windows Embedded (about two-fifths of all thin clients are shipped with different versions of the Windows Embedded operating system),” says Oleg Sidorkin, senior research analyst at IDC.

“At the same time, the share of thin clients without an operating system (zero clients) is increasing rapidly. In Q3 2013, the share of zero clients reached 24,5% of all thin client shipments, which is the highest share in the last four years. We expect that Windows Embedded will start gaining momentum from 2014, and the share of zero clients will settle at about 20%.”

In Q3 2013, the Western Europe (WE) market increased 7,9% year on year, shipping 350,324 thin clients. In the same period, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMA) exhibited lively year-on-year growth of 23,6%, with total volume reaching 112 155 units.

South Africa, Poland and Russia were among the fastest-growing markets in the region.

The CEMA thin client market is highly volatile and driven by large projects. While Q4 2012 saw high shipment levels, thanks to the performance of HP and Russian vendors like DEPO, IDC expects a moderate year-on-year decline in Q4 2013. In 2014, the CEMA market will return to moderate single-digit growth overall, although quarterly shipments can vary noticeably.